Court Orders Postponement of FDA Graphic Cigarette Warnings

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The following legislative update has been provided by the National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO).

On March 2, 2021, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas issued an order postponing the effective date of the FDA’s graphic cigarette health warning rule by 90 days from January 14, 2022 to April 14, 2022.  In addition, the order also states that “any other obligation to comply with a deadline tied to the effective date of the rule” is also postponed for an additional 90 days.

Based on this additional language in the order, NATO has asked the FDA for guidance on whether the agency will also be postponing for 90 days the preferred filing deadline of March 16, 2021 for manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers to submit cigarette health warning rotational plans. Each manufacturer, wholesaler, and retailer that creates its own cigarette advertisements is required to file a plan with the FDA which sets forth the schedule for rotating the eleven different graphic cigarette health warnings on cigarette packages and/or cigarette advertisements. The agency had strongly encouraged industry members to submit their cigarette health warning rotational plans by March 16, 2021 to allow sufficient time for the plans to be reviewed and considered for approval.